Trump’s Legal Woes: Unfairly Targeted or Justified Prosecution?

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I have it on the authority of New York Times guest editorialist Norm Eisen that Trump’s 34 felony convictions concern “profoundly serious” crimes. But one point I’m still not clear on is how Trump was supposed to describe his payments to Stormy Daniels.

How was he supposed to describe it?

— “Nuisance fee”?

— “Cost of doing business for a celebrity”?

— “Legal settlement that’s a lot cheaper than having my lawyers run up gigantic bills suing Daniels for defamation”?

NO! The only answer liberals will accept is this:

“Hush money payment to a porn star who was threatening to claim we had sex — a claim as false as the Trump Tower doorman’s allegation I had an illegitimate child with an employee, which is so false that even the media admit it’s false — for the exclusive purpose of hiding the porn star’s (false) claim from the electorate, so that they would vote for me, even though they did vote for me, despite seeing a video one month before the election of me bragging about grabbing women ‘by the p*ssy.’ The Daniels allegation, however, I believe would have pushed them over the edge, so I used my own money to pay Daniels not to lie about me, much like the $30,000 that was paid to the lying doorman.”

Former President Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in his trial at Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in his trial at Manhattan criminal court on May 14, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Former porn star Stormy Daniels speaks during her visit to The Cambridge Union on June 12, 2022, in Cambridge, England. (Nordin Catic/Getty Images For The Cambridge Union)

How could Trump not have known this?! Duh. Just look at the precedents.

When Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992, his campaign hired a sleazy private detective, Jack Palladino, to threaten journalists and private individuals in order to prevent voters from finding out about his legion of sexual conquests and sexual assaults — or “bimbo eruptions,” as campaign aide Betsey Wright charmingly put it.

Clinton campaign: SOLD! (By the by, Clinton would eventually admit to having sex with Flowers.)

Presidential candidate Bill Clinton gives a thumbs up to the crowd at a political rally in Little Rock during the 1992 campaign as his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton looks on. (David Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Gennifer Flowers (right) holds a news conference on January 27, 1992, with her lawyer to say that she had a 12-year affair with Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Bill Clinton after Clinton denied it on television. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

Then in 2008, presidential candidate John Edwards hit up a couple of well-heeled donors for more than a million dollars to hide his yearlong affair with Rielle Hunter and their resulting “love child.”

To keep Hunter happy (and hidden) throughout his run, the campaign gave her “cash, luxury hotels, private jets rides and a $20,000-a-month rental mansion in Santa Barbara, California” – as summarized by The Guardian. (Even lefty publications in the U.K. are more honest than the American media.)

All these goodies were paid for by heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, who gave the Edwards campaign $725,000 — laundered through a North Carolina interior decorator — and Texas lawyer Fred Baron, who gave the campaign $400,000.

As any of you campaign finance buffs know, $725,000 and $400,000 exceed the federal limit for campaign donations by about a half-million dollars apiece. (The limit was $2,300 in 2008.)

With Hunter squirreled away, Edwards orchestrated a massive cover-up, repeatedly denying the affair, only “confessing” after he was caught red-handed — but still insisting that it was “not possible” that he was the father of Hunter’s child. He even asked his campaign aide, Andrew Young, to cop to being the child’s true father, although he was married, too. (And you thought Michael Cohen was loyal!)

In July 2008, the National Enquirer caught Edwards sneaking into the Beverly Hilton to see his mistress and love child — complete with photos of him holding his daughter. After spending about six hours alone with them, he tried to sneak out through the basement at 2:40 a.m., whereupon he encountered Enquirer reporters. He ran back and forth but was continuously confronted by reporters, so he ducked into a hotel restroom and remained there for 15 minutes, until hotel security rescued him.

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, in April 2007. (Mark Hirsch/WireImage)

Rielle Hunter, the former mistress of John Edwards, carries her daughter as she leaves the federal courthouse in Raleigh, North Carolina, on August 6, 2009. (Shawn Rocco/Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Maybe I don’t have a nose for news, but that sounds like a pretty good story to me. There was even a sex tape. Top that, Stormy!

But that’s not my point.

Suppose you were Donald Trump trying to decide how to record a nuisance payment that you were making with your own money (not Bunny Mellon’s) for entry into your own books?

You’d look at precedent, right? How did Clinton report the campaign cash he was spending on a lowlife to smear his sexual conquests? How did Edwards report the million-plus dollars in campaign donations he received from Fred and Bunny to cover up an ongoing affair?

Clinton laundered the campaign’s payments to Palladino through a law firm and listed them on Federal Election Commission forms as “legal expenses.” Unlike Trump’s personal business records, these entries were being submitted to the FEC. Those entries had to be perfect!

So that’s how it’s done.

But wait a second! How come when Trump lists his payment to squelch a single “bimbo eruption” as a “legal expense,” he’s committed “profoundly serious” crimes?

According to the legal eagles in the D.A.’s office, Cohen’s payment of $130,000 to Daniels — reimbursed by Trump — was actually a “loan” to the Trump campaign that should have been listed on his federal campaign finance report.

How did Edwards explain the million bucks he got from campaign donors — gratis, no reimbursement expected or paid? His elegantly simple solution was not to report those contributions to the FEC. His reports included not the briefest mention of these gargantuan sums that were used to conceal a mistress and love child from the voters. (And he was definitely using the money to hide the affair from voters, not his wife: Elizabeth Edwards knew about the affair since at least March 2007.)

In Edwards’ case, Obama’s Justice Department did bring a prosecution for campaign finance violations, but it ended with one acquittal and a hung jury on all other counts. The DOJ declined to retry the case.

The Times — finally deigning to speak of Edwards’ love child hush money — reported on the failed prosecution, noting that the case “had no precedent” and would not “help politicians better interpret the labyrinth of campaign finance law.”

But now, an even more “unprecedented” legal case, based on the “labyrinth of campaign finance law,” is a hanging offense.

Liberals aren’t off their rockers, at all.

Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter is an American conservative media pundit, author, syndicated columnist, and lawyer. She became known as a media pundit in the late 1990s, appearing in print and on cable news as an outspoken critic of the Clinton administration. Her first book concerned the impeachment of Bill Clinton and sprang from her experience writing legal briefs for Paula Jones's attorneys. Coulter has also written 13 books.

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